Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Yesterday I celebrated my 50th birthday...

My day began with my friends picking me up early to go to breakfast... Turns out, though, that the breakfast place didn't open until 8:00. So, we went to Tony's and got a latte before we went to eat.

This was MY latte. Isn't it beautiful?!

We had a stranger take our picture at Tony's.  I don't really have a plant growing out of my hair.

Then we went to Skylark's and ate a yummy breakfast.

I pretended I was a queen...(if you look closely, you can see my tiara.)

These ladies helped me celebrate.

I was a little nervous having so much attention, so Amanda ordered me a mimosa to help me calm down. :-)

And, then, I was whisked away to have a morning full of spa treatments.

And, when my massage was over, my friends were waiting outside for me so we could have another mimosa to toast my grown up years.

Harv picked me up at 1:00 and we went to lunch at Anthony's. Lovely, slow paced lunch.

Then we got home I found out that someone had arranged to have our deck beautified and warmed up. 

Rumor has it that our wonderful friends from Northrop Grumman gave us the gift of deck beautification. I was TOTALLY overwhelmed. I know lots of planning went into making it happen and it was so much fun that your gift to our family fell on my birthday. LOVELY.

And, after all of that, Celeste made a delicious dinner and we had a yummy cake for dessert (not sure why I didn't get photos of that).

Thank you friends and family for loving us all...and me, in particular, on this day. ♥

It was a wonderful birthday!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Back to Seattle we go!

Today we had a follow-up appointment with Dr Lin, to figure out next steps after surgery.

Our day started at 5:30 so we could arrive in time for a 7:30 CT scan at UW ("U-Dub" for those of you not from these parts). The CT scan shows a mild reduction in the tumors in his liver. There's still more work to do, but he's been off chemo for several weeks so that might explain the slow rate of reduction.

His CEA count today was 1.8 -- which is slightly higher than what it was on his last day in the hospital (1.3), but Dr. Lin said it's essentially the same. It's a very good number and it's in the normal range.

Dr. Lin took Harv off of the IV chemo drugs for the next couple of months which will give his body time to fully heal from surgery.  He'll take the oral chemo (Xeloda) + Celebrex, which Dr. Lin says work well together. That new regimen starts today.

In a month, we'll go back to SCCA for blood work and to check in with Dr. Lin. In two months, he'll go back for a PET scan to check out the tumors in his liver.

Harv is getting stronger and stronger after surgery and is also gaining some of that lost weight back. 

We both feel good about his treatment and his progress. And, there's relief  in not having to have infusions for a while... 

Thanks for checkin' in and keepin' up with us. 

We love you.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Harv got home at about 1:30 Thursday afternoon. He was moving slowly that day and the next, but was feeling pretty good. Had an appetite, took a few short walks outside, and was slowly adjusting to a more normal life.

He has slept well both nights. This morning, he got up around 5:30, went down to get the paper (without a "spotter"), made coffee, ate breakfast and was chillin' out when I got downstairs at 6:30.

Then he went for another walk all the way from our driveway up to San Juan Blvd. & back. He took care of some paperwork, sat outside in the sunshine for a while, and he and the girls went on a "secret" mission later in the afternoon. He's even been acting more like himself mentally and emotionally. Another sign of him feeling better.

Right now he's resting. I'm enjoying some wine on the deck in what's left of the sunshine (that hits the deck).

It's been pretty close to a normal day and that feels very, very good.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Harv had a good sleep last night. Blood work looks good. He'll be discharged later today. CEA count is 1.3!!!!!!!!!!! ONE point stinkin' THREE!!!

Continue to pray for healing, strength, and adjustment to all that is new.

Thankful for doctors who help and are genuinely concerned and who care.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

It appears that things are moving... Currently no fever. Eating. The doctor is curious about the fever. Slightly higher than normal white count, but not much. He's off IV fluids. They'll do blood work tomorrow. Possibly he can come home tomorrow.

Thank you for praying.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Unexplained fever. Slow moving bowels. Please pray that the fever goes away and his system begins to work properly VERY SOON.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The doctor gave Harv permission to eat low-fiber solid foods today. That was after he had "eaten" his liquid breakfast so he got another! Scrambled eggs, muffin, and I can't remember what else. He ate a lot.

We're not sure how FAST things are moving, but it seems like there might be SOME movement. Hoping for more progress tomorrow. 

Harv's parents came for a visit this morning, which was nice. They sat with him for a while until he got sleepy and then Celeste escorted them to the cafeteria for lunch. So glad they got to be here for a bit. 

After dinner, I "snuck" a couple of root beer Popsicles in for Harv. He liked 'em. (Thank you, Popsicle donors!)

Please pray that things start moving. One, undesired, solution is to have a tube inserted into the nose to help move things along. THAT is NOT an option we'd like. 

Special shout out tonight to my neighbors who helped with some yard work and lawn mower detective work. The timing of the lawn mower giving me a hassle is rather interesting!

This blog entry is not flowing like I would like it to, but neither is my brain.

Love you people!!!

Harv is still in the hospital...

Yesterday morning he seemed very perky and,  after we visited him, he even took a walk outside in the  beautiful springtime air....

The doctor told him he can try any liquids now...creamy soups, juices and oatmeal (how that qualifies as a liquid, I'm not sure). He had cream of celery for lunch and that was good. He had cream of potato for dinner and that was if-y. So, he stopped before he got sick. In addition to the almost-nausea, it kind of wiped him out.

I stopped by right before he went to bed and said "good-night." His spirits are okay, but he was pretty tired.

I, personally, am ready for a little bit of "normal" again. I want him home (but only when he's REALLY ready to be here) and I would like our lives to be less-full of hospitals and feelin' bad. I don't know exactly when that's gonna be -- and, like I said, I don't want to rush things 'cause I want him to be well-enough to BE home -- but this is kinda wearin' on me.

Amazingly thankful for a beautiful day yesterday. Very, very thankful for friends who made a big drive just to love my girls yesterday. (And, the pastries are yummy, too!) And, I continue to be thankful for friends who check on us daily and do "little" things to support us. It helps a lot.

Please continue to pray for Harv to heal. And, please pray for some little moment or two of rejuvenation for me so that I can be what I need to be for my family and for me. 

Love you people! (I'm NOT kidding!)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Harv's doing much better... He had already done 15 laps around the floor this morning when we got there . The doctor came in while I was there and she said that it sounded like there was a little bit of movement in his small intestine.

She said they would try an experiment and let him have as many clear liquids as he wants today. If he accepts those with no nausea or vomiting, then they'll take it as a sign that things are moving in the right direction. She said that the bowels shouldn't go unused for too long a period. So giving it a slow and gentle try at being used will test the waters a bit.

It appears that he's lost a fair bit of weight, but his spirits are good, his voice is strong and he feels like reading the paper and stuff. ☺  He said he had a very good night's sleep last night and that helps a lot.

So it appears that things are lookin' up! Keep praying, please.

Thank you to everyone who's pitching in and bearing with me.

Love you, people!

Friday, May 4, 2012

You know, for the most part, I've been running on auto-pilot. What needs to get done, does. The girls get to school. The groceries get bought. We eat. The dog gets her walk. Harv gets a hospital visit... Sometimes I get a glass of wine. ;-)

But, this week there have been a couple of times, when the flood inside of me could not be held back anymore. It's kind of like the flood gates opened for a few minutes, closed up again, "AUTO PILOT" was turned back on and life continued.  There's still water behind those gates. It only comes when it's ready, but I never know exactly when that's going to be.

I don't mind crying, but it seems like crying requires the perfect setting. Kind of needs to be done alone --- which doesn't happen often. And, it kind of needs to happen on its own schedule -- both when it starts and how long it needs to last. Finding those perfect arrangements is a challenge. (Please do not be concerned about me because I wrote about crying... I'm FINE. Just have to cry sometimes and thought I'd share that with you. ☺)

And now, for the update on Harv:

I felt much better when I left the hospital yesterday afternoon. Harv had just finished a grape Popsicle and it really perked him up. And, we found out that the doctor's rule was that he can have a total of 8 oz. (240cc) of water &/or Popsicle... One Popsicle is only 70 cc! So, he could even have MORE before he went to bed. What a way to end the day!

I believe he'll be in the hospital until AT LEAST Sunday and if they say "Oh! you can go home today." I'm gonna say "Please let him stay an extra day." I'm hoping that we have had all of the ER visits we're ever gonna have in this journey. All of them (3 in the past month) have happened in the evening or late at night. I don't do late nights well even on a "regular" day... Late night + emergency visit throws me off a little.

This weekend is the second weekend of performances for Celeste's play: The Bellingham Theatre Guild's performance of "Flowers for Algernon." We haven't been yet (well, Sarah and Hannah went), but we've heard very good things about it. It's a "heavy" story, but I hear it's very well done. We are proud of her just comin' into town, finding a community theater, auditioning and getting not just any ol' part,  but the female lead. Ta daaaaaaaaaaaah! (We're related to her!)

Saturday, I might try to get out to the Sehome Athletics and Activities Auction... Just a little bit of socializing for me. We'll see how people are doing, but I believe I can make it happen.

Sunday is also Sarah and Hannah's piano recital. Can you believe they've been playing since 2nd GRADE?!  That means they're in their NINTH year of piano! Woo hoo! And, a big shout out to their wonderful teacher, Judy Johnson! 

Looks like today I needed to write about a bunch of stuff that doesn't really connect. You're stuck with it. 

I will give a real update when I have more information.
I still love you all. 

P.S. Harv is gonna be amazingly surprised and happy when he sees all the Popsicles he gets to eat when he gets home! Thanks, friends!

Thursday, May 3, 2012


Harv was on orders not to have any food or drink by mouth until things started moving...

He had a CT scan and it appears that there is a little bit of movement in the small intestine. (GO small intestine, GO,)

So, I think, because there appears to be some movement, Dr. Levinson gave him permission to have one Popsicle and one 8 oz. cup of water every 8 hours. Woooo hoo! He's already had one Popsicle and the next one will be available to him at about the same time that American Idol begins... So! The girls and I are gonna "join" him from home. You can too! It'll be a symbol of all the healing thoughts we are sending on behalf of Harv to the one who heals. :-)

Let's call this "Eat a Popsicle for Harv night!"

He's better, but he still has some healing to do!!!

Special thank you to those of you who have located Popsicles.... I think we're set for a little while. SO sweet of you to hunt for 'em and make it happen.

Another example of the love we feel!

Eatin' popsicles and kickin'cancer's butt!!!!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Not sure where to begin...

Yesterday Harv felt pretty bad all day, cold clammy skin and projectile vomiting included. He tried to eat, but didn't really want to. I had the anti-nausea meds "flowing" on a regular schedule. And still, he never felt any better. I called Dr. Pietro and he said that it's not uncommon for these things to happen, but to keep watching for fever or abdominal pain -- neither of which he had.

In the meantime, Sarah came home from school feeling pretty bad. She took a nap, vomited a few times, went to bed early. She didn't have a fever either.

About 9:45-ish I gave Harv his meds + some anti-nausea and then he said he felt like he just really should go ahead and throw up. He did. Both times yesterday, he threw up A LOT. 

So, I called SCCA and they recommended we go to the ER (AGAIN.) Neither of us wanted to, but I was uncomfortable not going, too. He felt much better after having thrown up and then ate two popiscles.  It was a tough call, but we agreed that if he threw up again that he'd go. I knew I wasn't actually going to go to sleep so I just lay there kind of listening to him breathe. I didn't like the way it sounded. I gently touched his head and he was clammy again!

I said :"We have to go." He reluctantly agreed and I called Laurie who came to just be in the house for the girls. 

He was very, very weak. When we got to the ER, I went to get a wheelchair for him, which he accepted willingly. They whisked him back to a room and about a million people started working on him. They took blood, temp, EKG. Then they took him to get a CT scan and an x-ray. And then the doctor came in to ask a bunch of questions.

Long story, shorter, he was admitted at about 3:00 this morning. His potassium was VERY, VERY low. They gave him liquid potassium to drink and then he's been on potassium IV ever since + a couple of pills everyday.

After leaving him at the hospital early this morning, I got home at 3:30 and crashed. Hannah woke me up at about 6:00... Sarah still didn't feel good so she kept sleeping. I arranged for someone to take Hannah to school, a friend brought me coffee, another friend picked up the dog-child, ANOTHER friend came to clean my house and the dryer repairman showed up.

After he left, Sarah and I took a nap.

When I got to the hospital, the GI doc was in there and he was great. Harvey really liked him a lot. Me, too.
He said that from all that they can tell, it looks like Harv has an ileus... which the doctor said means that the small intestine isn't working. It can be from any number of things... chemo, narcotics, surgery and a few others. He said that it heals itself over time. So, for now, Harv is receiving IV liquids + potassium, but isn't allowed to have anything by mouth. He can swab his mouth if he feels dry.  The doctor thinks it might take 3 - 4 days for it to heal.

I didn't spend much time at the hospital at all, but did go by for a bit. In fact, we even took a short walk -- which has been prescribed. I put him back in the bed and he was resting when I left.

I am very thankful that he went back to the hospital. I told him next time they say "you can go home." and he thinks he can, he should just say "I think I should stay an extra day...just to be sure."

Continued prayers are accepted with much appreciation!!
Love you people!!

P.S. If any of you know where I can find honest-to-goodness Popsicle brand root beer flavored &/or banana flavored Popsicles, that would be GREAT to know. Harv's been craving them. Be a kind of fun treat for when he comes home.
There have been many saints/angels who have participated in our journey. Today, I'd like to give a shout out to these good ladies: Mary Harbison (she took my Hannah to school today - Sarah stayed home.), Michelle Holladay (she's cleaning my house), Shelley Knebel (brought me my first cup of cofffee this morning), Chris Day picking up my dog-child so she won't be lonely today, and Laurie Alderman Bunnell (coming over at 11:00 last night and staying until 3:30 this morning so I could get Harv back to ER.) and Ken Bakken for resuming duty as neighborhood garbage taker-outer.
(When I know more, I'll post more. Summary: extremely low potassium, vomiting, and perhaps a colon that's still in shock. Love, love, love how great people are!!! Continuing to pray for Harv to be TOTALLY FIXED -- nothing out of order, strength, healed, happy, comfortable, etc., etc., etc. GFW!!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Here's what I know:

Harv didn't really sleep well last night. He slept, but not quite as well as he had hoped. So, as a result, he's "catching up" by sleeping this morning. He's also finding that it's somewhat more difficult to move around the house (get in/out of bed, etc.) than it was at the hospital. He's had a 1/2 a piece of toast for breakfast and now he's slowly working on a bowl of cereal.

He seems amazingly sluggish to me, but he thinks it's just the adjustment to being home. I reckon we'll see.

Hoping he finds his groove soon.

We set up our next Seattle appointment for May 15th. And, we'll have a follow-up appointment with Dr. Pietro sometime during that week, too.

Please continue to pray for healing.

P.S. And, shortly after I wrote the above, he vomited. Oh! How I do not want to have a sick husband...This is an extremely helpless feeling. I know it's gonna be okay, but it's actually not okay now and I don't like that part.

Prayers all around, please. I really want to be a good nurse...everyday.

Harv was happy to get home yesterday afternoon. He sat in the blue chair and hung out for the rest of the day. Raney was happy to see him, too... (He sat before she came in.) She had trouble walking because she was wagging so much.

He moves slowly and isn't without pain, but he continues to say that it's muscle pain -- which is way better than the cramping pain that caused the surgery to begin with.

He ate -- though nothing you could actually call a meal, but he ate all he wanted and was satisfied.

We both slept, though not without waking a few times. I'm not sure how (un)comfortable he was while he was sleeping, but he finds it a challenge and a real thought process to move around in and to get out of bed.

Please pray for me as nurse. Nursing isn't a strong area for me, but I do what I can. ☺ Pray for nurse/patient communication -- that it's open, encouraging, loving and helpful.  Please pray that today we will find the best way to manage his pain and that he would be encouraged by his progress.

People continue to do things for us and I haven't written even ONE thank you note since January!!! And, the reality is, I'm pretty sure it's not gonna happen. (ugh).... That doesn't mean that I'm not composing thank you notes in my head all the time.... Good friends! That's what I've got. Good friends! 

The reality is my brain is a bit scattered so my blog entry isn't well-composed, but hopefully, you'll get the idea that Harv's healing, I wanna be the nurse he needs... I'm sure one of his goals is to be the very best patient in the world for me ;-), and we have received and continue to receive wonderful support from friends and family.

Love you all.
Continuing to GFW!!